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Dianne Neal Matthews

Dianne Neal Matthews

Dianne Neal Matthews here, with a word of encouragement for your second Monday of the month. In order to share this message, I’m forced to admit something—and I hope it won’t lessen your opinion of me.


Hello, my name is Dianne and I am an American Idol addict. In my defense, I didn’t give the series a second thought during the first five seasons. But during Season 6, my daughter came over to watch the show at my house since she didn’t subscribe to a TV service that year. I got hooked and I’ve never looked back since.

Although I enjoy watching every week, I never expected to get writing advice from AI (or advice on any other topic for that matter). That changed this year. Toward the end of Hollywood Week, the finalists had been divided into groups and sent to separate rooms where they waited to hear if they would be going forward in the competition or going home.

The contestants were dealing with the tension in different ways. Many fought back tears; most sat in silence. In one room, a knot of two or three girls seemed more relaxed, occasionally laughing out loud. This obviously annoyed another girl on the other side of the room, who finally burst out in anger. After a brief verbal tussle between the two sides of the room, a girl on the front row settled things down with some wise words.

“We’re all nervous”, she pointed out. “Nobody wants to go home. But people handle it in different ways.” Turning her head in one direction, she said, “You do you.” Turning the other way, she said, “And you do you.”

“You do you.” Doesn’t that sound like advice we’ve all heard at writing conferences or read in articles? “Don’t copy other writers.” “Let your own voice come through.” “Write what you know.” What would the world of Christian publishing be like without all the different genres, writing styles, and distinctive voices?

No matter what project you’re working on today, remember those three words: “You do you.” Don’t try to sound like somebody else, because after all, if you don’t do you, who else will?

 

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2 Thoughts on “3 Words to Live By

  1. While I’m not an American Idol fan, I am a Biggest Loser fan. I haven’t decided how that ties in with my writing except that it makes me realize I need to get up and exercise a bit inbetween writing episodes–while I’m trying to be me. Great post, Diane!

  2. Thanks, Karen! I’ve never watched Biggest Loser, but that sounds like some great advice for writers. Think I’ll get up right now and unload the dishwasher.

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